In 2017, 4 passengers fly Ryanair from Malta to the Netherlands, where they arrive more than 3 hours late. The reason is a defect aircraft radio that needs to be replaced. After arrival the passengers claim through Claimingo €400 ($490) per person compensation referring to EU regulation 261/2004.
The carrier refuses to pay based on a session ban in its terms & conditions. This means that a third party can’t file a claim on behalf of a duped passenger.
A second argument Ryanair adduces, is that the radio was defect. The airline argues that this is an extraordinary circumstance that releases the airline from its obligation to pay compensation. But according to jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) it is not.
A judge rules
Small wonder that the passengers go to a Dutch court in 2018. Amazingly, the judge rules that Ryanair is right because of the session ban in its terms & conditions. Thus, the passengers lodge an appeal to a higher court.
A court rules
This court considers that Ryanair’s session ban violates both Dutch and European laws. Therefore, the court rules that the session ban in the terms & conditions is invalid.
The court also considers Ryanair’s argument that the defect radio is an extraordinary circumstance that releases the carrier from its obligation to pay compensation. It concludes that a defect radio is not an extraordinary circumstance. Airlines must guarantee that there is a working radio on board.
No extraordinary circumstance
The law describes an extraordinary circumstance as something that could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures have been taken. This includes regular maintenance. So, a failing part or instrument is not a reason to release the airline from its obligation to pay compensation in the event of a delay.
Ryanair must pay
Thus, the higher court rules that Ryanair must pay €1,600 ($1,950) compensation, 4 years afterwards. In addition, it rules that Ryanair must pay all legal cost the passengers had to make to reach this decision.
Tags: Ryanair, EU Regulation 261/2004, compensation, delay